Premium on Safety - Issue 51, 2024 - 16

LESSONS LEARNED
pass quickly. Showers moving in from the
northwest are unusual, as most result from
uplift when the northeast trade winds hit
the central mountains. The DO said that
weather " coming in from the west side ...
was not normal, " adding, " There's no way
to train on an unusual weather day. " Only
two weather observation stations exist on
the island, one on the west and one on the
southwest coast, and while tour pilots also
like to check three privately owned webcams,
none cover Waimea Canyon.
The report also noted that the company only
required completion of a flight risk assessment
tool (FRAT) for " out of the ordinary " flights,
leaving routine tours entirely to pilot discretion
because " only the pilot will know what's going
on after the first weather briefing. " The DO
claimed the company had a mandatory accident/
incident reporting process for " circumstances
that need to be reviewed, " but neither of the
company pilots interviewed by the NTSB
had ever heard of it. In-flight footage from
the helicopters equipped with onboard video
recorders (which the accident helicopter lacked)
was not reviewed on any fixed schedule and,
according to the general manager, was used
primarily for marketing. Responsibility for
reviewing them usually fell to the accident pilot
in his role as chief.
After noting that giving pilots sole
discretion over weather decisions is " not
uncommon " in single-engine, single-pilot
Part 135 operations, the NTSB reiterated
its earlier calls for delegating operational
control to suitably trained ground support
staff and for a regulatory requirement to
institute formal safety management systems,
including mandatory flight data monitoring
programs and installation of crash-resistant
flight recorders. The NTSB's review of ondemand
Part 135 accidents " with findings
related to pilot performance " -not limited
to air tours or helicopters-found seven
accidents between 2000 and 2015 that
resulted in 53 deaths and four serious
injuries.
However, the FAA has so far declined
to mandate either SMS or flight data
recording for air-tour operators, and
their voluntary supervised SMS programs
have attracted only 10 percent of eligible
participants. Given the financial challenge
these initiatives pose to smaller operators,
it's unsurprising the General Aviation
Manufacturers Association issued a
statement finding these recommendations
" prohibitively prescriptive " despite
supporting their objectives. We reached out
to the FAA for comment on the matter, and
Video courtesy of the NTSB.
The recording captures the NTSB-convened hearing
aimed at delivering analysis and insights regarding the
Airbus collision into terrain accident on the island of
Kauai, where the pilot and six passengers were fatally
injured.
they replied saying a Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking was issued earlier this year
requiring " charter, commuter and air tour
operators, and aircraft manufacturers to
implement SMS. We are evaluating the
comments we received on the proposal. " As
of December 2023, the proposed rule was
still listed as pending.
David Jack Kenny is a freelance writer
and statistician.
16
https://www.ntsb.gov/news/press-releases/Pages/NR20220510.aspx https://www.ntsb.gov/news/press-releases/Pages/NR20220510.aspx https://www.faa.gov/newsroom/faa-proposes-rule-mandating-use-program-detect-mitigate-risks-early https://www.faa.gov/newsroom/faa-proposes-rule-mandating-use-program-detect-mitigate-risks-early

Premium on Safety - Issue 51, 2024

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